How to Stock Your Home Bar Without Spending a Fortune

For those setting up house or party people getting ready for the holidays, making mixed drinks at home can be an expensive endeavor. While it’s undoubtedly cheaper to fill your cup at home instead of hitting the bar, keeping the liquor on hand to be your own mixologist can be costly.

Professional bartenders say the trick to saving money on your own home bar is to make a plan before you load up on hundreds of dollars worth of bottles. Like going to the grocery store hungry, strolling the aisles at the liquor store without a list can be a liability to your budget.

How Much Does It Cost to Stock a Home Bar?

The cost of building a well-stocked home bar varies widely depending on what you already have on hand. If you’re starting from scratch, a basic home bar setup should set you back somewhere in the $250 to $500 range depending on your taste in liquor.

How does that compare to the average cocktail budget in most cities? The US Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey says consumers spent an average of $478 on alcohol in 2020, down $100 from 2019. This cost rises dramatically during the holidays and for younger people who raise a glass more often than others.

Elliott Clark, the founder of Apartment Bartenderreassures cocktail enthusiasts that many cocktails can be made at home with anywhere from three to five ingredients.

“The most expensive part is the spirit, and that doesn’t have to be expensive at all,” says Clark. “Spirits ranging in the $20-$35 range are great for home cocktails.”

How to Stock a Home Bar on a Budget

Beginning with the end in mind is helpful when deciding what to buy for your home bar and what to leave on the shelf. There are two basic approaches to stocking a home bar on a budget.

If you’re new to making mixed drinks at home …

It’s best to sample and try a few different cocktails before you settle on what you want to invest in for your home bar.

“There are a few different ways you…

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